What is Equine Assisted Counseling and Psychotherapy? Equine Assisted Counseling and Psychotherapy is a form of professional counseling that incorporates equines (horses and donkeys) into the counseling process. This intervention is co-facilitated by a counselor and equine specialist. Please click here to learn more.
Why do I need an Equine Specialist? The primary job of the Equine Specialist (ES) is to protect the physical safety of both clients and animals. The ES is a certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHL) through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International(or an ES-In-Training under the supervision of a PATH Intl. ESMHL) and is trained to work with equines in mental health practice. The ES takes primary responsibility for the physical safety of all involved (both human and equine) and the welfare of the equine during the session. The ES will work with your counselor to carefully balance your needs with the needs of the animals. The ES will also monitor the animals for stress (and intervene when necessary), assist with treatment planning, and offer feedback during the session. Will I get to ride the horses during counseling? There is no riding in equine assisted counseling and psychotherapy - all work with equines is done on the ground. Working with equines on the ground enables you to form a more authentic relationship with your horse without the interference of bridles and saddles. After clients have have met their treatment goals or have made significant progress towards their treatment goals, they may be eligible to participate in our non-clinical therapeutic horsemanship services which can include riding.
What should I wear? We recommend that you wear something that feels comfortable to you. As we are outside with equines, you can expect your clothes and shoes to get a little dirty! Clientsare required to wear appropriate footwear (sturdy closed-toe shoes) during interaction with equines. Helmets are not required, but are available upon request. We encourage you to bring water, sunscreen, and bug spray. Layers, hats, and gloves are strongly encouraged during the winter months.
Do you accept insurance? At this time, we are in-network with one insurance company, TRICARE. For all other clients, we will be happy to provide you with the necessary paperwork to file for reimbursement with your insurance company for non- or out-of-network services upon request. We encourage you to contact your insurance company to inquire about your out-of-network benefits and/or benefits for psychotherapy services.
What are your fees? Fees range between $85-$135 per session depending on which counselor you are assigned to. Active duty and reservist service members who have served in a warzone, all veterans, and family members of all living Texas veterans (or service members who have served in warzone) may qualify for 16 grant-funded sessions free of charge.
How do I schedule appointments? Appointments are typically scheduled on the hour Monday through Thursday between 10:00am and 6:00pm.
Due to the fact that we coordinate each member of the treatment team's (counselor, equine specialist, and equine) schedule for your appointment, we ask that you commit to a regular weekly time and attend consistently. (Of course, we understand that you may occasionally need to miss for vacations, illness, etc.). This will ensure that your entire treatment team will be available for you. If you are unable to commit to weekly appointments, we cannot hold a reserved time slot on the schedule for you. We will do our best to schedule appointments for you as we have availability but will be unable to guarantee appointment availability in a given week.
Do you cancel sessions if it's raining, too hot, or too cold? We try to avoid canceling sessions due to weather except when absolutely necessary. During inclement weather such as rain or extreme hot/cold temperatures, we may move the session to a covered area or indoors. In the case of dangerous weather (such as tornadoes), your counselor will call or text you to cancel.
What should I expect in the first session? We strongly encourage you to complete all paperwork in the Client Portal. (A portal invitation will be sent to you after scheduling your first appointment). By completing this paperwork in advance, we will have more time to thoroughly discuss your concerns and interact with the horses. For minor clients, we require all legal guardians to sign a Parental Consent form. In addition, we require copies of any court orders (or other legal documents) pertaining to conservatorship or custody.
Upon arriving, you will first meet your counselor and equine specialist treatment team. You will then discuss your concerns and goals for counseling, as well as complete intake assessments. The remaining time will be used to get to know the equines. Once you have found an equine with whom you feel comfortable, you can select this equine as your chosen counseling equine to work with each week.